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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  February 25, 2017 11:00am-11:31am PST

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its next party chairperson will be. vote under way right now and we'll bring you a result as soon as they come in. new details following exclusive reporting about the trump administration's attempts to tamp down media reports on communications with russia. we know the white house asked the fbi to dispute the same reporting and cnn can now confirm at least one congressperson is joining that effort contacting "the new york times" in order to benefit the white house. cnn's athena jones joins me right now from the white house with more on this. so athena, the kicker here is the white house and the lawmaker. both say there's nothing wrong with this. >> hi, frederica. that's exactly right. of course, others disagree. let's look at the statement that my colleague, senior white house correspondent jim acosta got from the communications director for the house intelligence committee. this is one of the folks the white house reached out to for help in knocking down these
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reports about contact between trump aides and russian officials. this is what the communications director says. chairman nunez did nothing inappropriate. he made inquiries by "the new york times" and no evidence to support them and told that to multiple supporters and then a white house aide asked if he'd speak to one more. so he spoke to that reporter as well telling the person the the same thing he told other reporters. and so as far as the chairman of the house intelligence committee is is concerned, this was not at all inappropriate. we know the chairman of the senate intelligence committee, chairman richard bird, told something similar to the "washington post" but of course, this is something that's raised the ire of people like the democratic vice chairman of that committee who said he had raised concerns with the director, mike
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pompeo and bur about what it might mean for the independents of the investigations taking place and speaking more broadly about the investigation into this matter of contact with russia, a gop congressman daryl issa is suggesting it might be thes to ha necessary to have a special prosecutor. this was on bill maurher. >> you can't have somebody friend of mine, on the campaign and who is an appointee. you're going to need to use the special prosecutor's statute in office to take not just recuse, you can't just give it to your deputy and you have to do that. we're going to hado it. >> reporter: you heard concerns talking about the attorney general jeff sessions who was an early supporter of trump who early endorsed and campaigned
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frequently with then candidate trump, the fact that he's arguing that it's not a good idea to have him heading up this investigation. it's a complicated matter. we're going to hear a lot more about this, trefred. >> any word from the administration? >> reporter: one of the chief reactions we're talking about is from the vice chairperson of the senate intelligence committee, mark warner, the democrat from virginia who said that he had reached out to the cia director, mike pompeo and chairman bur to say he wanted to make sure that this could be an impartial investigation. he said that he's consulting with members of the intelligence committee to determine an appropriate course of action and to ensure that the american people can get the thorough and par issue investigatitial inves deserve. and heard from nancy pelosi who raised concerns about all of these contacts as well.
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this is not a simple thing. we've got a lot of people who are watching this closely and who are concerned about it putting out statements, tweeting about it and you have this republican who is saying that some sort of independent special prosecutor is going to be necessary. fred? >> thank you so much. athena jones, appreciate that. so the new head of the environmental protection agency, scott pruitt, taking center stage this hour. republicans gather just outside of washington at the conservative political action conference known as cpac. his remarks follow a campaign style speech by president trump yesterday where trump laid out his agenda and promise to put america first. let's bring in cnn white house reporter steven colin son. he sued the epa several times as oklahoma's attorney general. what can we expect to hear from him as the head of the epa there now at cpac? >> reporter: i think he's going to lay out his plans to gut some
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of the regulations that the obama administration introduced on the environment. environmental groups have complained that scott pruitt who as you said sued the epa when he was attorney general of oklahoma is basically going to shield the fossil fuel industry from some of these environmental regulations and in a wider sense, he's one of the key figures in enacting donald trump's agenda of slashing regulation, making the size of government smaller and as steve bannon, donald trump's political advisor said earlier this week, sort of dismantling the administrative state, fred. >> you also wrote that initially, conservatives doubted, had big doubts about president trump and whether he was really one of them. they have changed their minds because the reception for him, of course, he's president now, is far different than what was seen a few years ago. >> that's right. everyone loves a winner, after
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all, and the president, i think, his speech here was very interesting yesterday. a lot of the headlines were taken by his media bashing which was sort of first ten minutes or so of the speech but i think some of that took away from the political significance of what we saw yesterday. donald trump made clear he's trying to evolve a conservative movement and the republican party itself into a much more populist party where the message of economic nationalism and i think what he's trying to do here, if he does manage to succeed in that to advance his agenda and has a successful presidency is, i think the speech we saw here yesterday from donald trump will be seen in a significant light historically. because that was the most clear and laid out version of donald trump's political ideology, philosophy, and agenda that we've seen, i think, even during the campaign. so it was a very significant speech and i think donald trump is trying to make cpac a source
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of emotional and political support for his presidency. much as ronald reagan did throughout his eight years in office. >> steven colin son. thank you so much. in the meantime, we're also continuing to follow the vote count in atlanta where the democratic national committee is about to learn who the next party chairperson will be.
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live pictures right now in atlanta where ballots are being counted to decide on who will be the next democratic national committee chairperson. the two front runseners, tom pez and keith allison. representing the two forces that divide the party. the progressive versus the establishment. all of these candidates made their kind of last arguments of why they are the best candidates and then it went to the 447 members who had an opportunity to cast their digital ballots and now we understand the counting is under way. cnn washington correspondent ryan nobles is at that meeting in atlanta so ryan, tell us what's happening. >> reporter: tred frederica, a f members waiting to see what's the results on the ballot and if it will be enough to move over the top and become the next dnc chair.
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there are 447 voting members of the democratic national committee but there will only be 441 votes cast here today. so in order to win, you need to get 50% of that vote plus one. so that's the magic number we're looking for here in the next few minutes. we were told by donna brazil about 10 minutes ago that the vote result was imminent that could come within the next 5 or 10 minutes. she could come out at any moment to deliver the results. there's a sense it's down to the congressman from minnesota. i talked to two committee people who both cast votes. one for elson and one for perez. neither confident that they'll be able to pull through on the first ballot and if one doesn't win on the first ballot, that's when things get interesting so the candidates further down will drop off and there will be some horse trading in an attempt to come over the top. one of the things we need to keep an eye on is how this crowd
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responds to the winner. espn especially if it's not keith ellison. there may be more people that support tom perez, there are substantially more people in the back of the room who don't have votes but consider themselves democrats who support keith ellison. will they embrace a tom perez chairmanship? this will be a big clue because they represent a larger group of democrats from the progressive wing of the party that have been frustrated with the democratic party over time. that's going to be a big thing for us to watch here in the next few minutes. fred? >> so it has been expected that there would be many ballots because like you mentioned, 441 that are cast but the majority are needing at least 221 or 221.5 or 222 and you've got five in the running even though you mentioned the two kind of leading candidates there. is there even a time frame?
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must they do this by a certain amount of time or simply whoever gets the majority no matter how many ballots, phases are cast? >> reporter: that's exactly right, fred rericfrederica. they'll keep voting until they find a candidate over the 50% threshold but in terms of the full fleet of five candidates. if they don't meet a bare minimum percentage, they actually come off of the roster and it goes to the next group of voters. so we should strengthen the bottom three candidates to make up a small portion of the support, the former mayor of south bend, pete who was considered the third candidate. may be a consensus choice. he was a lot of people's second choice if their preferred candidate didn't win. he dropped out before the voting been began. that relegated the vote to the candidates. it's a battle between ellison and perez right now and we're going to have to see who the winner is here in the next few minutes. >> we'll continue to monitor as
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i know you are as well. we'll check back with you as we get closer to results. thank you so much, ryan noebs. your insurance company won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. and if you have more than one liberty mutual policy, you qualify for a multi-policy discount, saving you money on your car and home coverage. call
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candidate, donald trump promised to help revive the struggling coal industry but it looks like this is a tough promise to keep. cnn's martin savidge talks with some trump voters who want coal jobs to return to their ohio town. >> reporter: in ohio, it's hard to find an area more remote or more red than manchester where two of every three votes were for donald trump. >> donald trump. >> trump. >> trump. >> trump. >> reporter: the tiny town sits along the banks of the ohio river. >> it's something about the water here. you get it in your blood and you don't want to leave. >> reporter: tokfolks can tell and when they believe it will die. >> you say 2018. >> june 2018 is the last. >> reporter: when two are projected are close. the news broke just after the
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election. >> it was definitely a shock to myself and coworkers, families, people in the local community. i think some people are still in shock. >> reporter: as it stands now, the union says about 700 jobs lost in a town of 2,000 people. the coal supplier said it will cut additional 1500 jobs. tax rev tenues will plummet. what about all of those rallies? >> ohio. >> reporter: all the promises of jobs and the reenergizing coal? >> jobs, jobs, jobs. >> reporter: so if he is the energy coal president, why are coal plants still shutting down? >> i don't think it's 100% up to trump. i think he's got a lot of say so in it, but to me, it's poor business decisions. >> reporter: the mayor agrees. it's not trump's fault. he blames plant owners and management. >> overhauls built this company.
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>> reporter: he's a man in a suit. >> he's touched the working people. he stood up for the working people. >> reporter: did you vote for trump hoping he would save your job? >> that's not the only reason, but i did vote for trump because i liked the way his views are on stuff and i like the way he don't try to be all political correct on everything. >> he was positive on coal and others weren't. >> reporter: despite the talk of coal, bring jobs back, that somehow your coal related job? >> i personally feel he steps in on this part as well. >> pressure on. rework this. >> jobs and coals.
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>> future once so bright will soon face much darker days. martin savidge, cnn, manchester, ohio. >> thank you so much, martin. back to atlanta now and the vote for a new chairperson for the democratic national committee. let's check in with ryan nobles because the first round of balloting has taken place but is there a final count, a new chairperson? >> reporter: collected 213.5 votes. the threshold to win was 214 votes. so he falls basically a half a vote short. keith ellison collected 200 votes. so as close as you could possibly come to not winning on the first ballot somewhere tom perez has landed so speaking the
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lower tier and then some are electing to others and tom perez 200 votes. he's only 14 votes away from winning this democratic national committee chairmanship. there's going to be a lot of horse trading with the the end of this round of voting and t n then. before the next round of ballot casting takes place? >> reporter: in fact, the awe ff them had the opportunity to
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withdraw if they like. it's hard to tell because i'm talking to you. >> they can elect to drop out but they're not asked to drop out. >> reporter: exactly. so at least one of those candidates has just dropped out right now. so we have sam that he may also with candidates but it's interesting, frederica, pete did get one vote. that one vote would have been the difference between putting perez over the top or not putting him over the top. >> really? >> reporter: that's significant as well. it's that close and looks as though ronan has just endorsed keith ellison based on the cheers that have come from the back of the room. this race is certainly not over yet. >> oh my goodness. okay. this is quite the horse race here.
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you're in an exciting place right now, ryan nobles, thank you so much. we, of course, will check back with you as another round of balloting gets under way to select the new chair of the democratic national committee. and thank you so much for being with me today. i'm fredericka whitfield. we'll have much more with brianna keeler at the top of the hour. turning point, before we go, army vet finds that fighting saved his life. >> bang, boom, boom. put the body lock. >> i'm todd vance, founder of pow. when i was in the army, i was a squad leader and we ran over 215 combat missions. i got back from iraq in 2005 and i thought i was on top of the world. slowly but surely, reality was setting in about what i had seen and what i had done. i turned into a recluse. i was drinking too much. i did self-medicate. i went to the v.a. for help and
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